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7 - The South Korea–U.S. Alliance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Uk Heo
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Terence Roehrig
Affiliation:
U.S. Naval War College
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Summary

A crucial element of South Korea's security has been its alliance with the United States. The alliance was formalized in 1953 with the signing of a mutual defense treaty, but the relationship began informally when World War II came to an end. The alliance has had its high and low points, as all long-term relationships do. What began as a patron–client relationship between Washington and Seoul is evolving into one that resembles more of a partnership, although an unequal one. The alliance has been the subject of a multitude of studies in the past fifty years, and the precise nature and future of the alliance remain unknown. It appears likely that the alliance, although shifting in form, will remain an important part of South Korean security and the overall security architecture in East Asia for some time. This chapter will examine the history and components of the alliance, the efforts begun under the George W. Bush administration to restructure the U.S. force presence, and the future direction of the alliance.

An Uncertain Guarantee: 1945–1953

Prior to World War II, Korean ties with the United States were minimal, but the closing days of World War II brought Korea to the attention of U.S. leaders. With Japan's hasty surrender after the dropping of the atomic bombs, U.S. officials quickly crafted a proposal for the United States and the Soviet Union to divide the peninsula at the 38th parallel for taking the Japanese surrender.

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Chapter
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South Korea since 1980 , pp. 157 - 182
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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References

Sawyer, Robert K., Military Advisors in Korea: KMAG in Peace and War, in a volume in the United States Army Historical Series, ed. Walter G. Hermes (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1962)Google Scholar
Matray, J., The Reluctant Crusade (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985)Google Scholar
Kissinger, H., For the Record: Selected Statements, 1977–1980 (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, 1981)Google Scholar
Schelling, T., Arms and Influence (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1966)Google Scholar
Shulz, G., Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Macmillan, 1984)Google Scholar
Woodward, B., Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002)Google Scholar
Snyder, S., China's Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics, Security (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2009)Google Scholar
Menon, R., The End of Alliances (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)Google Scholar
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